A cancer diagnosis is not the death sentence it was decades ago. Thanks to developments in cancer treatment, patients diagnosed with cancer early on stand a significant chance of getting cured. However, when patients experience a delayed diagnosis, when the cancer has moved from Stage 1 to Stage 4, their chances of responding well to treatment, having a high quality of life or even surviving, diminish significantly.
Often, a late diagnosis occurs because someone such as a physician, oncologist or pathologist was negligent. When medical professionals act outside a reasonable standard of care, occasioning a patient injury, the professional can be sued. If a doctor failed to diagnose your cancer until it was Stage 4, talk to a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to discuss your case against the doctor.
Cancer Misdiagnoses are Fairly Common
Approximately 1.4 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. However, not all those diagnoses are correct.
One study by The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, studied the tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients in the country. They found that one in 71 cases was misdiagnosed while one out of five cancers was wrongly classified.
Physicians are well aware of the high misdiagnosis rates. A study by the National Coalition of Health Care (NCHC) and Best Doctors revealed that over 60% of doctors believed cancer misdiagnosis occurred in at most 10% of all cases.
How Cancer Misdiagnosis Happens
There are several reason for a cancer misdiagnosis. One of them is the lack of personalized and specialized diagnosis. Many cancer diagnoses are made by pathologists after evaluating tissue samples. These pathologists never meet the patients and in many cases, are not experts in the type of cancer they are diagnosing.
In the NCHC study, the top reasons given by doctors for cancer misdiagnosis were:
- Fragmented or missing patient medical information
- Inadequate pathology diagnostic equipment
- Inadequate genetic information.
Other reasons include:
- Failure to test a patient on time
- Failure to perform all necessary tests
- Misreading or misinterpretation of results
- Failure to listen to patients’ problems.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers are:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
When Medical Practitioners Act Negligently
When you are sick, you go to the hospital to get treated. You agree to pay for a doctor’s appointment and for medical tests because you know the doctor will employ a standard of care to identify what is bothering you and treat it.
New Jersey courts have construed standard of care to require that a specialist possess and employ the knowledge and the skill that would be expected from an average specialist in a similar position.
When medical professionals do not act within the reasonable standard of care, occasioning a cancer misdiagnosis that ends up costing you invaluable treatment time and options, you suffer personal injury. If these injuries would have been avoided had the doctor or pathologist or radiologist acted with due care, then you may have a cause of action against the medical professionals.
If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer until it was too late for adequate treatment, you should talk with an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer immediately. Contact the delayed diagnosis lawyers at Nagel Rice, LLP today to pursue compensation for your medical expenses and other losses associated with medical negligence.